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Internet Explorer 11 Desktop

By , logo. Last updated: 2017-10-05

Internet Explorer 11 layout in Windows 7, 8.1 and 10; using Add-on Performance Advisor and changing home pages

Internet Explorer 11 is available for Windows 7, 8.1 and 10 only. Existing Windows 8 users can upgrade to Windows 8.1 for free if they want IE11.
Windows 7 version lacks some features, such as touch control, synchronization, Enhanced Protected Mode, SPDY support and several HTML5 media extensions. See the full list of missing features.
Windows 8.1 has Desktop version and the touch-oriented Modern UI/Metro-style IE app.

The following tutorial applies to Desktop version of Internet Explorer 11. Modern UI/Metro version is covered in a separate guide.

Internet Explorer 11 layout

Internet Explorer 11 layout is identical to that of Internet Explorer 9 and 10. This means less clutter and displays more of the web page you are visiting.
Internet Explorer 11 default layout

Back and Forward buttons are for quickly going back or forward in current browsing history. These buttons are active only when you have visited at least two web pages. Then a blue arrowhead pointing down activates to the right of the Forward button. When you click on it, you will see your browsing history and you can go back or forward by clicking any item in the list.
Browsing history is different for each open Tab in each open Internet Explorer window.
You can also move back one page at a time by pressing Backspace or Alt+left arrow key on your keyboard. You can move forward one page at a time by pressing Alt+right arrow key on your keyboard.

Address Bar with integrated Search is the place to write the address of the website you want to visit. For example, Address Bar remembers visited addresses, so if you have visited before, you do not have to type in the whole address, just type "goo" and choose the address from the list. If this list contains many items, you can go to the first item on the list by pressing Shift+Enter on your keyboard. You can access Address bar using keyboard shortcuts CTRL+L and F4.
After you type in a website's address (also called "URL") press Enter key on your keyboard to go to that address.
Searching is integrated into Address Bar. Just type a question mark (?) and then the word or phrase you want to find on the Internet. You can still have several different search providers (for example, Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc) to choose from. When you type something in the Search box, most search providers offer you words or phrases for auto completing. For example, when you want to search for "Estonia", type in just "est" and choose "estonia" from the list that appears in a short while. Keyboard shortcut for this is Ctrl+E.
When your search word or phrase is complete, press Enter key on your keyboard to start searching.

Search button is another way to start searching.

Tracking Protection indicator shows up each time something is blocked on the web page you are currently on. Tracking Protection does not necessarily mean something malicious, in most cases this just keeps online advertisement companies from tracking your behavior and customizing web ads for you.

Compatibility Mode button is useful when a site does not follow web standards correctly and web pages on the site appear badly laid out or do not display contents well. Click the button and Internet Explorer will try to recover from these errors and display the web page correctly.

Refresh and Stop buttons are quite essential. When you want to refresh a page, click on Refresh button or press F5 key on your keyboard. To ignore cached items and force reload of the page, use keyboard shortcut CTRL+F5.
When you want to stop loading a page (for example, it takes too long), click Stop button or press Esc key on your keyboard.

Tabs are something like windows in windows. You can have many pages open in one Internet Explorer window. This makes navigating between open web pages easier and different Internet Explorer windows will not clutter Taskbar.
You can open a new Tab by clicking the small empty tab right to the last open Tab or by pressing Ctrl+T on your keyboard.
You can close active Tab by clicking the X button in the right top of the Tab or by pressing Ctrl+W on your keyboard.
To navigate between open Tabs, click on the needed Tab or use keyboard shortcuts Ctrl+Tab to move forward one Tab at a time or Ctrl+Shift+Tab to move back one Tab at a time.

Command Bar and Menus are now replaced with three or four buttons:

  • Home - opens your home page(s). You can also use keyboard shortcut Alt+Home.
  • Favorites, Feeds and History - opens a list of your favorite pages (Favorites Center), feeds and browsing history. You can use keyboard shortcut Alt+C or Ctrl+I to open Favorites, Ctrl+G to open Feeds or Ctrl+H to open History. The lists now open on the right side of Internet Explorer.
  • Tools - most used Menu items, such as Print, Zoom, Safety or Internet Options. Use keyboard shortcut Alt+X for this.
  • Feedback (Let us know what you think) - in Windows 10 only, the smiley emoticon allows sending positive (Alt+J) or negative (Alt+K) feedback to Microsoft.

Horizontal and Vertical scroll bars are for moving left and right and up and down in currently open web page. The scroll bars appear only if the page content does not fit fully in open Internet Explorer window or Tab.
Click and hold on a scroll bar and move your mouse to scroll a web page. You can also use arrow keys to scroll a web page, Page Up (PgUp) and Page Down (PgDn) keys to scroll one page at a time, or use Home key to jump to the top of the page or End key to jump to the bottom of the page.

You can still add all different bars to Internet Explorer 11 and put Tab bar on a separate row. Just right-click a free space on the top of Internet Explorer window and select or deselect any item listed.
Internet Explorer 11, changing layout by adding or removing items. Just right-click an empty space on the top of Internet Explorer window for this.

This is how Internet Explorer 11 would look with all Bars enabled. Much less space for the web page, right? Smile
Internet Explorer 10 layout with all Bars enabled. Menu bar, Favorites bar, Command Bar and Status bar are now visible.

Menu Bar has been hidden since Internet Explorer 7. Instead of wasting space on your screen by making full Menu bar visible at all times, you can just press Alt key on your keyboard and the Menu bar appears below Address bar until you use it. After selecting (clicking or tapping) a command, the Menu bar disappears again.

Favorites bar includes some of your favorite web sites and web parts. This bar is meant for pages and web parts you visit most often. This bar is short, but you can also see an extended and well-organized list of favorites under Favorites button (Alt+C).
The first button on Favorites Bar is Add to Favorites Bar button. When you click it, your currently open page or selected web part will be added to Favorites bar as a button.
Suggested sites is a feature that gives a list of other sites that you might find interesting. This list is based on your currently open web page.

Command Bar includes most often used commands, but I suggest using the Tools button (Alt+X) or keyboard shortcuts instead.

Status bar now shows only Zoom Level controls - how small or big everything looks on a web page. You can switch between zoom levels by clicking on the number (this switches between 100%, 125% and 150%) or you can click the arrow down button and select a common percentage yourself. You can also use keyboard shortcuts Ctrl+plus sign and Ctrl+minus sign to zoom in and out, respectively. To return to normal size, press Ctrl+0 on your keyboard ("0" - number zero).
You can also use Full-Screen Mode by pressing F11 key. This hides Internet Explorer's Title Bar, Address Bar, Favorites Bar, all menus and Status Bar. You can still open Address Bar, Favorites Bar and Menu Bar when you move your mouse pointer to the top of the screen.
To exit Full-Screen Mode, press F11 key again.

First step after installing Internet Explorer 11 - Add-On Performance Advisor

Internet Explorer 11 tries to speed up its launch by offering to disable add-ons (e.g. toolbars and Adobe Flash or Apple QuickTime player) that take a long time to load. Click Choose add-ons.
Internet Explorer 11, Speed up browsing by disabling add-ons. Click Choose add-ons.

Choose Add-ons window will open. Any add-on that takes over 0,10 seconds to load will have a red bar to the right of its name. As 0,10 seconds is not really such a long time, look for add-ons that take over two or three seconds to load - you should either disable or update these. Just click Disable for each add-on you do not need or that takes a long time to load.
Next, select 5,00 seconds from the Tell me when the delay caused by add-ons exceeds combo box. This should be sufficient startup time for those needing many add-ons. In case Internet Explorer startup takes more than 5 seconds, you will again see the notification above.
Click Done after making changes.
Internet Explorer 11, Choose Add-ons. Disable any add-on that takes over a second to load. Select 5,00 seconds from the Tell me when the delay caused by add-ons exceeds: combo box.

Managing home pages in Internet Explorer 11

Internet Explorer 11 supports multiple home pages - if you have specified more than one home page, they will automatically open in different Tabs when you open Internet Explorer. Do not set too many home pages, though, as this will slow down the opening of Internet Explorer. Smile

Opening home page(s)

To open all specified home pages, click the house-shaped Home button on the top right, or use keyboard shortcut Alt+Home. Note that different home pages open in different Tabs.
Internet Explorer 11, Home button. Click it to open defined home page(s).

Adding or changing home page(s)

To add or change home pages, open the pages you want to specify as home pages. Then click the Options button or press Alt+X on your keyboard. Click Internet options:
Internet Explorer 11, Tools menu. Click 'Internet options' to change home page(s).

The first section on General tab is Home page. To use the currently open web page as your home page, click Use current. This will add all currently open Tabs as your home pages.
If you want to specify your own pages, type them in, each page on a different line. Separate different pages by pressing Enter key.
Click OK after you are done.
Internet Explorer 11, Internet Options, General tab, changing home pages. Click the 'Use current' button if you have the pages you want as home pages currently open. If not, type the pages you want as home pages on separate lines.

Disabling Modern UI/Metro-style Internet Explorer 11 in Windows 8.1

If you do not want to use Internet Explorer 11 Modern UI app in Windows 8.1 at all, you can turn it off completely using Internet Options (or by installing another web browser and making it the default one).
First, open Settings search using keyboard shortcut Windows Key+W and type "internet". Click Internet Options. Alternatively, if Internet Explorer 11 Desktop program is already running, click the cogwheel button (or use keyboard shortcut Alt+X) and click Internet Options in the menu.
Windows 8.1, Settings Search. To access Internet Explorer settings, type 'internet options' and click the result.

Internet Properties window opens. Open Programs tab and enable the Open Internet Explorer tiles on the desktop option.
Then select Always in Internet Explorer on the desktop from the Choose how you open links combo box.
Windows 8.1, Internet Properties, Programs tab. To disable Modern UI version of Internet Explorer, enable the 'Open Internet Explorer tiles on the desktop' option. Windows 8.1, Internet Properties, Programs tab. To open links in Internet Explorer 11 Desktop only, select 'Always in Internet Explorer on the desktop' from Choose how you open links combo box.

Click OK to close Internet Properties. Now Modern UI/Metro version is disabled, all links open in Internet Explorer Desktop version and the tile on Start screen also opens Desktop IE.

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